Ten Reasons to not use 2,4-D

10. Precautionary Principle Not Applied

The Pest Control Products Act (2002) promises enhanced protection of health, safety and the environment with the Precautionary Principle. Implementation of the Precautionary Principle is delayed until after the proposed re-registration of 2,4-D, according to a Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) PowerPoint Presentation (May 17, 2004).


9. Call to Phase Out Cosmetic Use Ignored

A House of Commons Committee report titled 'Making The Right Choice for The Protection of Health and the Environment' (On May 16, 2000) called for a "five-year phase out of pesticides used for cosmetic purposes" on lawns and gardens across Canada. This phase-out, which would include 2,4-D, has been ignored.


8. Business Interests Override Public Interests

The PCP Act's definition of 'Confidential Business Information' (CBI) means that we cannot verify claims made in support of pesticide registration. Peer review is impossible. All testing is secret - even the methods of analysis are considered confidential.


7. Herbicide Health Effects Continuing

A study in the peer-reviewed journal "Environmental Health Perspectives", noted that the commercial, off-the-shelf mixture of 2,4-D, Dicamba and Mecoprop may pose serious reproductive risks. (see: Par III) Herbicide health effects reported in recent peer-reviewed literature include cancers, type 2 diabetes, and reproductive and neurological problems.


6. Relevant Dioxins Ignored By PMRA

Dioxins - toxic, persistent, bioaccumulative chemicals -may contribute to herbicides' health effects. 2,4-D is contaminated to some extent with dioxins, predominately those with 2 or 3 chlorine atoms. Under Canada's Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), dioxins with more than 2 chlorine atoms are targeted for virtual elimination. The PMRA asked for analyses of dioxins with 4 or more chlorines. This is in contravention of CEPA. Worse still, dioxin analyses were still missing when the PMRA claimed that "2,4-D can be used safely on lawns and turf".


5. Synergistic Effects Unknown

2,4-D is usually mixed with other herbicides such as Dicamba and Mecoprop, as well as formulants and contaminants. (see: Par III) The synergistic effects and negative health impacts of this toxic mixture are not clearly understood and are not assessed by the PMRA.


4. Break-down Products Overlooked

The typical smell of 2,4-D is the first break-down product - the very toxic 2,4-dichlorophenol. Break-down products were not assessed by the PMRA in the re-evaluation of 2,4-D.


3. Serious Health Warnings Withheld From Homeowners

Domestic products have no health warnings, but the label for commercial packaging does state:
"2,4-D may cause severe irritation to the eyes. Prolonged breathing of 2,4-D may cause coughing, burning, dizziness or temporary loss of muscle coordination. Other possible effects include fatigue, muscle weakness or nausea. Treat symptomatically."


2. Sale & Use of 2,4-D Prohibited in Quebec

In the Province of Quebec 2,4-D (all chemical forms) is among the list of active ingredients prohibited for sale and for lawn maintenance purposes on private lawns and commercial green spaces, as of April 2006. In addition, 2,4-D is not approved for use on lawns and gardens in countries such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark.


1. Misleading Statements Regarding 2,4-D

On April 11, 2005, the Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health found the PMRA media release headline concerning 2,4-D "safety" (February 21, 2005) to be quite misleading, and recommended that a press release be issued to correct the false impression. The PMRA has not issued a correction concerning the "safety" of 2,4-D.